The Gustavian Weekly

So dark the con of shopping | The Gustavian Weekly

By Mason Kruize Opinion Columnist | December 6, 2013 | Opinion

Black Friday: a day following the time of thanks, in which we trample over complete strangers for cheap material goods.

This tradition is rooted in the unspoken forbiddance of Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. True to our nature, we’ve pushed the big shopping day up as far as possible. This year, some stores had the gall to open on Thanksgiving Day.

With violence and chaos now expected, Black Friday has earned its morbid monicker. We’ve all doubtlessly heard of the injuries and even deaths that have occurred because of this dark day, and we should feel sorrow for those who’ve experienced it firsthand.

Stabbings, concealed handguns, pepper spray, trampling, threats, and stampeding mobs have all occurred on this kick-off to the “Merry” Christmas shopping season. How is it that we have allowed this abomination to become so deeply ingrained into our nation’s culture? Some would say it is our selfishness, our never feeling as if we have enough, or because we believe we deserve the best before others and will do whatever is necessary to obtain it, regardless of the consequences. Personally, I believe the problem is far more simple than that.

The problem is apathy. Apathy towards others, apathy in our own desire and greed as consumers, apathy when it comes to remembering to be thankful only to immediately forget when the occasion is passed.

We simply do not care about how we present ourselves when it comes to getting what we want. We’ll point the finger at others to change without taking the time to point into the mirror like we should. We expect someone in power or others to do what is needed to fix the issue while we won’t hold ourselves accountable.

I’m sure plenty of you have never trampled over a poor Wal-Mart employee on the way to all that fancy merchandise, but let it be asked: have you put material desires before the needs or requests of others? Have you spent a majority of your time on yourself, doing things in which you gain immediate self-gratification or attempted to possess more, rather than take the time to appreciate what you already possess? Has there been a time when you’ve gotten something that you “absolutely needed,” only to realize later that it was a spur of the moment purchase?

Apathy is dangerous at any level. Whether it is someone not caring about the injury given to that stranger roughly shoved aside or not taking the initiative to spend less, a problem is a problem and will only grow unless we take it upon ourselves to stop it head on. Forgive the winter pun, but it will snowball into an avalanche which will consume and control you. Control your impulses, or your impulses shall control you. Actually spend the effort to meaningfully give thanks and buy only what you need plus a few occasional splurges when you feel you have earned it. Greed and desire are a part of being human; only by controlling that desire and actually caring about our decisions are we able to overcome them.

We’re all guilty of having not cared about how our actions will impact us in the long run, especially if we let those actions become habits. Yes, there is the time when you deserve a little fun amidst the stress of life or are buying something you actually need, but make sure you don’t go overboard.

Black Friday is an occasion where you should be perfectly able to go shopping, just so long as you don’t let yourself be overpowered by the mania of greed or desire. There are enough depressing things in this world without having to hear about an employee being trampled to death because people couldn’t take their eyes off some lavish junk.